Showing posts from May, 2011

Things Go Better With Coke

Good to see Scotland supporting our neighbours in England. As the English FA tries - albeit belatedly - to inject some openness and accountability into the world footballing association - FIFA. The business of electing a new President stinks to high heaven - with Sepp Blatter's only rival suspended - and allegations of bribery and corruption swirling around delegates from different countries. So the heat is turning up on the big World Cup sponsors - companies like Coca Cola, Adidas and Emirates Airlines - who don't want their hard won reputations to be tarnished. Let's hope the money men insist on getting a bigger bang for their bucks - because the present situation is out of control and will only get worse - if FIFA doesn't mend its ways. Modern public-facing, organisations - should be prepared to act openly and transparently at all times. If they don't, you know for sure - they have something to hide. 

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Here's a great story from today's Daily Telegraph. Let's see what the male MPs are now made of - because if they've any sense, they'll stand shoulder to shoulder with their female colleague. Female Tory MP barred from playing football with men "A female Conservative MP has complained at the "ridiculous" new rules which prevent her from playing football for the Parliamentary football team because she's a woman. Tracey Crouch, 35, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford in Kent, is a right winger or centre forward who has played for both the 11-a-side and five-a-side teams alongside her male colleagues. However, the Football Association recently took over the running of the 11-a-side team and under its rules only girls aged 13 or under can play in mixed teams. Miss Crouch, a keen Tottenham Hotspur fan, said: "I don't want there to be an exemption for me but it seems ridiculous that adult women can't decide if they want to play alon

Free Union Advice

I find myself in a strange position today - I've been contacted by a trade union branch secretary down in England - for some advice and information about equal pay. Now the chap's name and details will remain private - to prevent any repercussions from his less enlightened union colleagues. But it gives me something of a dilemma - because I don't know him or anything about him - and why should I help the trade union anyway - given the way they've behaved over the years? Yet on reflection this union branch secretary is clearly trying to do the right thing by his members - unlike many other trade unions reps I know - who lined up with the employers a long time ago. So I will help him and provide the information he's looking for - even though there's nothing in it for me or for Action 4 Equality Scotland. I only hope it does some good for low paid council workers in another part of the country - whether they are union members or not - makes no difference

Blazing Saddles

If there's been a better comedy film than Blazing Saddles in the past 30 odd years - I've yet to see it. Mel Brooks riotous western has a lot going for it - other than bean-fuelled cowboys - the story is overtly racist, sexist, offensive and way over the top - on just about every front imaginable. But that's the whole point. Because the film pokes fun at the establishment and stereotypes of all kinds - allowing people to laugh at the absurdities of the modern world - through the eyes of the Waco Kid and the Sheriff of Rock Ridge. Imagine a society ruled over by religious fundamentalists - of any description. A film like Blazing Saddles would be banned for being subversive - because that's exactly what it is. Maybe that's why I like Private Eye so much - there's nothing quite like it for making fun of the 'great and the good'. Here are a couple of items from the latest edition: NUMBER CRUNCHING 15 months - Prison sentence of Timothy Harr

FIFA, c'est moi!

Louis XIV of France got his head chopped off - for not moving with the times.  The Sun King believed he was the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful Monarch of France -  accountable to absolutely no one but himself - until, of course, the French Revolution decided he had rowed his boat out just a bit too far. Sepp Blatter - President of FIFA - seems to suffer from the same overbearing arrogance - as the last King of France . I just watched a press conference - fronted by this septuagenarian megalomaniac - which could have been organised by Louis XIV's public relations advisers. Because Blatter's blunt message to his critics was simple and to the point: 'FIFA, c'est moi' - and what are you all going to do about it?   He even trotted out the old line that Jim Callaghan - the former Labour Prime Minister - allegedly used when the country was going to the dogs in the 1970's - during the Winter of Discontent. 'Crisis, what crisis', Blatter said t


FIFA - the world football organisation - finally seems to be getting some real stick. After a 'whistleblower' from the inside the machine - finally shines a light on what's been going on - but has been hidden from public view up until now. A good thing too - if you ask me. Because FIFA seems like completely shameless organisation - the exact opposite of open and transparent body - with procedures that are seen to be fair. Various FIFA bigwigs are now fighting like rats in a sack - which always happens when the worm turns in these kind of situations. Suddenly the tables turn - and the once all powerful bosses are no longer in control.     Whistleblowers and whistleblowing in in the UK is afforded legal protection - so long as there is a 'public interest' defence. So if you have something important to say about equal pay or anything else - then don't have any qualms about standing up and speaking the truth. Just be sure to get good advice in advanc

Nou Camp - here we come!

I watched the Barcelona v Manchester United game again today. And I have to say it is even more impressive in the cold light of day - than when first seen amidst all the swirling emotion and excitement of Saturday night. Barcelona simply played Man U off the pitch - with a relentless and essentially simple passing game - interspersed with moments of sheer flair and individual brilliance. Which is what football is all about at the end of the day - passing the ball to your team mates and keeping possession - until an opportunity to score comes along. On Saturday night, Barcelona gave a masterclass in how to play the beautiful game - skill and  sportsmanship were in abundance - even from the Man U team who were so comprehensively beaten in the end. Scotland has much to learn - not just from the quality of the football - but also from the absence of sectarian singing, violence and hatred - that often accompanies the Scottish game. But that kind of behaviour is now very firmly i

Debating South Lanarkshire

A regular reader from South Lanarkshire has been in touch - with what I think is an interesting  suggestion. 'How about holding a series of local meetings in the area - to debate publicly the issues surrounding Single Status, Equal Pay and Freedom of Information?' Well, I think I'd be up for that - all we'd need are some suitable local venues - ones that are not controlled by the council in case there are any difficulties about booking the facility. I imagine local polticians would be interested in coming along - councilllors, MSPs and MPs. Maybe we could challenge some of the key players to an open public debate - for example, the leadership of the council along with local trade union leaders - and so on. So let me know what you think? A series of public meetings would take a bit of organising - but I'm all in favour of freedom of speech and an open public debate - on the big issues of the day. Let's see who else is up for it as well.

Rotten Boroughs

Private Eye - the fortnightly satirical magazine - has a regular column entitled 'Rotten Boroughs' which shines an occasional light on the behaviour of local councils in the UK. Here's a interesting story from the latest edition of the magazine - a snip at only £1.50 every two weeks. "Twits on Tyne" "As if secret multi-million pound bonuses paid to bosses of Newcastle Airport as part of a refinancing deal hadn't cost councils in the region enough, South Tyneside council is now spenmding thousands in vindictive pursuit of a councillor who helped bring the scandal to light. Newcastle Airport is majority-owned by seven councils in the north-east. When the £377 million refinancing deal was agreed in 2006, the aiprport's executive directors, John Parkin and Lars Friis, were each paid a percentage of the loan as a personal bonus. Between them they trousered more than £8.5 million with the agreement of the airport's remuneration committee, whic

Local Politics

The Herald reports today that local politics in Scotland are in a real state of flux at the moment - following the recent elections to the Holyrood Parliament. Tom Gordon - the newspapers political editor - tells of two more councillors who have switched their allegiance to the SNP.  The moral of the story is that it's always useful to share your point of view with local politicians - whether on equal pay - or anything else. Local councillors, MSPs and MPs are elected to serve the interests of local voters - and should respond to anything you raise with them - in a serious and professional manner. So don't be backwards - about coming forwards. Two more councillors switch to the SNP "Two Scottish councillors shifted their allegiance to the SNP last night, including a former election agent for Labour peer Lord Foulkes. The SNP are now predicting more defections ahead of next year’s local elections. The decision by independent councillors Glynis Sinclair in Hi

Millions Wasted Fighting Equal Pay Claims

Here's an interesting article on equal pay - from yesterday's Scotsman newspaper. So the same councils that claim to be strapped for cash - seem to have deep pockets when it comes to hiring expensive outside lawyers - to fight equal pay claims from their own staff. In many cases the employers are simply defending the indefensible - but with taxpayers money, of course.  The comment from COSLA is - as usual - both ridiculous and self-serving. Because the reason there are large numbers of claims today - is that councils failed to deliver on their promises over Single Status and Equal Pay - which they made back in 1999.  'Town halls 'waste' millions fighting equal pay claims'.  "Public bodies have splashed out millions of pounds in legal fees in recent years to fight equal pay cases against their own staff. It was branded a "bonanza" for lawyers by one MSP yesterday, who also hit out at councils for failing to address an issue which has

Barca Boss Britain's Best

Barcelona are a joyous team to behold in full flight. Last night  they stamped their authority all over their match with Manchester United - before running out easy winners in the end. The Catalans turned an old sporting adage on its head - 'that a good big 'un, will always beat a good little 'un' - as Messi, Xavi and Iniesta ran Man U ragged - and not for the first time either. So maybe there's still hope for Scotland - we shall see. But it's encouraging that sheer skill and effort has triumphed on the world stage - yet again - as the Spanish national side did in the World Cup.   The Champions League Final also proved to be a great showcase for the game - which was played in a great spirit on both sides. Even Sir Alex Ferguson - not one of football's good losers - was generous with his praise at the end of the match - in which his own side gave a good account of themselves.   The best team won on the night - by a country mile. And in Barcelo

The Big Match

Barcelona versus Manchester United at Wembley stadium tonight - has all the hallmarks of a great football match. So let's hope it lives up to expectations - and serves up a real treat. Barcelona are the best team in the world - according to most pundits, but this is a one-off game - anything can happen and in football it often does. Who would ever have thought lowly Wimbledon would have beaten mighty Liverpool - in the 1980 something FA Cup Final? Certainly not me. So I'll be glued to my screen watching the match - along with half the population of Europe, so it seems. In fact - I might even have a little bet at the bookies.

Jumping on Bandwagons

No sonner has the Daily Telegraph published its piece - highlighting examples of outrageous council spending - than other newspapers jump on its bandwagon. Witness the following extracts from an article in today's Independent newspaper - in similar vein. "The details were obtained by The Daily Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act and included flights to Thailand, Kenya and Bermuda and hotel stays at the Four Seasons in New York, the Pan Pacific in Singapore and the Athens Hilton. Gifts have been bought from Tiffany jewellery, Gucci products and pure silk ties. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "It appears that for years, some councils have been enjoying the high life paid for by you and me. "Now that we are forcing councils to release details of their expenditure, the culture of wild overspends and excess which became the norm under Labour, will hopefully become a thing of the past." Cornwall Council in particular had a total credit

Spending Public Money

The Daily Telegraph has a big article today - on how public money is being spent by some of our councils. Here's an extract of what the paper has to say today - and given its track record on MPs' expenses - I think the Telegraph may be on to something. "Council staff refused to explain their expenditure further when contacted by The Daily Telegraph earlier last week. In contrast, 48 councils did not issue the credit cards while several others only incurred bills running into thousands of pounds. The rules on the cards are not clear with each council thought to have drawn up its own guidelines. Whitehall officials are understood to be increasingly concerned that there was little oversight on the expenditure with few checks made on the use of taxpayers’ money. The revelations are likely to spark public fury at a time when councils are axing more than 170,000 jobs, closing libraries and cutting spending on care for the elderly. Council tax has more than doubled over

You Heard It Here First

No sooner have I finished my thoughts about Ed Balls - that I read an excellent article in today's Guardian newspaper - some extracts of which are reproduced below. I absolutely agree with the point that if Ed Balls were still in office today - he would be forced to resign by yesterday's damning judgment from the Court of Appeal. Ed Balls has a reputation for throwing his weight around and - on this occasion - he has also played fast and loose with public money. If he applied the same standards to himself - he would do the decent thing and stand down from his role as shadow chancellor. Because his reputation is now in tatters. "The court of appeal was extremely clear where blame lay for the way Ms Shoesmith was dismissed. It lay with Mr Balls for rushing his fences too eagerly and Haringey for following him over them too blindly. As soon as the horrific Baby P criminal case ended in November 2008, Mr Balls got Ofsted to conduct an urgent report on the state of th

Politics and Self-Interest

Ed Balls - the former Labour minister - appears to have cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds. How so? For his role in sacking the a senior official in Haringey Council - over the death of Baby Peter -  whose neglect and abuse shocked the nation only a few years ago. Three Court of Appeal judges agreed yesterday - unanimously - that the senior official (Sharon Shoesmith) had been unfairly sacked from her £133,000 a year job. The former senior is now likely to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation - but the taxpayer will pick up the tab - not Ed Balls or his government advisers. Which is often the way of these things. Because the politicians want someone's head on a plate - in fact anyone's head on a plate - so long as it's not their own. And the same politicians are also happy to act 'tough and decisively' - safe in the knowledge that if it all goes wrong and costs the taxpayers a fortune - then they won't be held to acc

Hold the Front Page!

Two of Scotland's teaching unions - the EIS and NASUWT - are at loggerheads, the newspapers report today.  Wow, what a shocker - hold the front page! The EIS (Educational Institue of Scotland) and NASUWT (National Association of Schooolmasters and Union of Women Teachers) have apparently fallen out over one of the big issues of our time: Changes to the way supply teachers are paid. Now I can't say, myself, that I've noticed this great subject being the 'talk of the steamie' - as I go about my life's daily routine. But apparently it's a big deal - to some teachers at least - who think they should be paid at a higher rate if they go back and do supply teaching at a school - having previously retired from duty. Such teachers 'are up in arms' - as I understand the dispute - because they want their 'old' rate of pay, i.e. the one they enjoyed before retiring - as opposed to a new entrant's rate of pay. Which of of course would me

Biting the hand that feeds

Figures released today by the Electoral Commission - show that the trade unions provided the Labour party with 87% of all its donations - in the first three months of 2011. Now all political parties rely on donations simply to exist - because they don't receive direct state funding - and have no other sources of income - beyond the generosity of party members and supporters. But things appear to be going from bad to worse - because even under Gordon Brown the figure stood at 56%. So the party is becoming ever more reliant on the unions - financially speaking - with Ed Miliband as Labour leader. Now this is not so surprising in one sense at least. Because the only section of Labour's  electoral college in which Ed Miliband received more  votes than his brother David Miliband - was the trade union section. Where a relative handful of of trade union activists cast the same 'one third' of the total electoral college - as did individual party members. Now there

Life Imitating Art

I watched a remarkable TV programme the other night - which reminded me of the film Escape from New York - directed by the one and only John Carpenter. The TV documentary was made by none other than Louis Theroux - a true English eccentric - who keeps putting himself in harm's way - even though he look as though he couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag. The subject of Louis's film was a jail in America where prisoners are left to more or less fend for themselves - once they have been safely locked behind bars by their guards. So differences between the prisoners are often settled by violent fights - which the authorities make no attempt to break up - presumably because in one way or another the prisoners 'have it coming'. What's remarkable is that this very scenario is what was foreseen in Escape from New York - a film where the whole of Manhattan Island has been sealed off - as a high security prison. And the flotsam and jetsam of of America's

A Passage to India

Former Labour MP - David Chaytor - left prison today for fiddling his parliamentary expenses - after serving only five of his eighteen month sentence. But as one door opens another maybe about to close - because  former Tory peer, Lord Hanningfield now faces a jail term - after being found guilty of fraudulently claiming nearly £14,000. Lord Hanningfield claimed £13,379 in parliamentary expenses - for overnight stays in London but which involved nights when he was not actually in the capital. His dishonest claims included one occasion in February 2008 - when he was actually on board a flight en route to India. How the other half live - and how deluded they are because the noble lord continued to protest his innocence as he left court, telling reporters: "I'm devastated but I have no regrets. I did nothing wrong." I hope the judge throws the book at him when he returns to court   for sentencing - in a few months time.

Lang may yer lum reek!

A regular reader from Stirling has been in touch. One of the male janitors who listened to Action 4 Equality Scotland on equal pay - and disregarded the duff 'advice' coming from the trade unions. Here's what he had to say: "Dear Mark, First of all I'm sorry that it's taken so long, but THANKS. Thanks for all your hard work  Thanks for all your patience                      and Thanks for the money" The letter goes on to provide the means by which I can procure for myself - a nice bottle of red wine - which is a very kind gesture and much appreciated. The letter ends by saying. "Once again THANKS. Yours WA PS Lang may yer lum reek!"   When I look back on what's happened over the past five years - I take great satisfaction in seeing the difference our work on equal pay has made - to so many people's lives. And the secret of that success has been in telling the truth - plain and simple. While avoiding all the

Is it safe?

I always seem to get caught up in this Icelandic ash cloud business. First coming back from Canada last year - and now in this latest disruption - which badly affected Scotland's air space earlier this week. And I have to say I think I'm on the side of Michael O'Leary and Willie Walsh - who both claim the threat to air travel safety is being completely overblown - by the scientists and boffins. Because the restrictions placed airlines are all based on computer programmes and theoretical projections - rather than on practical tests - which both Michael O'Leary and Willie Walsh have carried out. And they reported no adverse effects on the planes which went up into the sky. So why the big shutdown? Now no airline is going to take risks with passenger safety - in this day and age. But surely the way to decide the significance of the risk involved - if any - is to put a plane in the air and take decisions based on real empirical evidence. 

Red Dust Road

I've just finished reading Red Dust Road - the life story so far of Jackie Kay - one of Scotland's best known poets. Jackie has an interesting 'hinterland', as they say - adopted soon after she was born by John and Helen Kay, lifelong socialists from Glasgow. Jackie's birth mother was a young Scottish woman from Nairn and her birth father was a young Nigerian student - whom she met briefly while he was studying in Aberdeen. Red Dust Road tells the story of Jackie's life with John and Helen Kay - and her subsequent search for her birth mother and father. The book is a delight - funny, sad, powerful and poignant - all at the same time. The opening chapter tells the story of Jackie's reunion with her birth father Jonathan in Nigeria - where he has become a born-again Christian - and she tells the 'hilarious' tale with remarkable honesty. As she does when speaking of her birth mother - whose Mormon beliefs convinced her  that adopted people a

CENSORED in South Lanarkshire

Here is the 'guts' of the document censored by South Lanarkshire Council - following my freedom of information request about Single Status and Equal Pay. The council has removed or redacted a whole section of Paragraph 2.2.1 - presumably because this lets the cat out of the bag - in terms of what council officials were really up to back in 1999. What's amazing is that elected councillors appear to have left the whole business of Single Status and Equal Pay - up to the most senior officials who sat on the Corporate Management Team. Incredibly, the subject of Single Status and Equal Pay - the biggest issue facing the council - is not discussed at any council committee - between the summer of 1999 and the spring of 2003. So much for local democracy. Which appears to have been casually cast aside to suit the council's Corporate Management Team - who now want to keep their deliberations secret. But that's what the House of Commons tried to do as well - in rel

'A code that you can live by'

I travelled down to London in 1974, I think - to watch Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young play a live concert at Wembley Stadium - the warm up act was Joni Mitchell. Now I'm not sure how many teachers were in the audience of 70,000 or so fans. But as the song says: - Teach Your Children Well - because they must have a code that they can live by. Don't we all? Teach Your Children (CSNY) You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by. And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye. Teach your children well, their father's hell did slowly go by, And feed them on your dreams, the one they picked, the one you're known by. Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you you would cry, So just look at them and sigh and know they love you. And you, of the tender years can't know the fears that your elders grew by, And so please help them with your years, they seek the truth before they can die. Teach your parents well, t

Teach Your Children Well

Here's the post I wrote about Scotland's teachers and the McCrone Agreement - back in January 2011. Scotland's 'comprehensive' system of education is based on the principle that no one person is better than anyone else - and that we all deserve the same chance or start in life. What anyone makes of the chance their given - is then up to the individual. So what's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander - Scotland's teachers simply ain't entitled to better conditions of service than other council workers.  And I'm surprised that the some teachers - aided and abetted by the trade unions -  should be setting such a bad example to school students and young people.     More Equal Than Others (29 January 2011) The Scottish government has announced a review of the McCrone Agreement - which gave Scottish teachers guarantees on pay and conditions back in 2001. The deal cost the Scottish government (and taxpayers) over £800 million at t

More Equal Than Others?

If you believe the news headlines, Scotland's teachers are up in arms - over planned changes to their conditions of service. Now these changes haven't been explained in any detail as yet - but as far as I can see they would simply involve bringing teachers into line - with other council employees. So what's the fuss all about - surely teachers don't believe that they are entitled to better, more favourable treatment than everyone else - simply because they're teachers. What kind of example would that set for Scotland's children and young people - being schooled in concepts such as fairness, equality and social justice? I'm sure I wrote something about teachers' conditions of service recently - I must dig the post out and publish it again. Because we're bound to bombarded with a load of old baloney from Scotland's teaching unions - on why teachers deserve to be treated as 'more equal' than others. But let's face - do the tr

Guff and Hot Air

John Rentoul had an amusing piece about political gobbledegook the other day - on his blog site hosted by the Independent newspaper. Poking fun at the ridiculous gobbledegook politicians come up with sometimes - in their rush to persuade voters to give their party a second look. The article is reproduced below - but the bit I like best was - 'we will address the new inequality by hard wiring fairness into the economy'. I think I'll write to Ed Miliband and ask him to do the simple things first - like telling Labour-led South Lanarkshire Council to get its finger out - and to stop censoring pay information about traditional male jobs. Now that would be a small practical step forward - instead of all this guff and hot air. "Perhaps it was a little harsh to compare Ed Miliband to Harold Camping, the millennarian who said the world was going to end yesterday. After all, lots of people had already accused him of making a fool of himself by calling for Ken Clarke

Unofficially Campaigning

I read a strange report in the papers the other day - about the moves to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the IMF (International Monetary Fund). The report said that nameless allies of Gordon Brown - the sometime MP for Fife - were accusing the government of a 'petty blocking exercise' motivated by personal dislike of the former Labour leader. Yet the government - according to GB's nameless friends - were well aware that their man was 'unofficially campaigning for the job'. Now I could swear I heard GB saying quite the opposite on live TV - while he was stomping around South Africa last week. So what's the government supposed to do - because if you don't ask, you don't get. And anyway, GB already has a full-time job - representing the interests of the good people of Fife - even though he appears to spend relatively little of his time and energy in the House of Commons. If the job of being an MP is not big enough for the former Iron C

Politics and Equal Pay

The Herald newspaper reports today that the penny may have finally dropped - for the many Labour councillors in Glasgow. Suddenly it's dawned on them that Labour might actually lose control of Glasgow City Council - for the first time ever - at next year's local elections in May 2012. Here's something I posted recently about Single Status and Equal Pay. But what I say about the trade unions - is equally true of the Scotland's big councils - which were all Labour controlled at the time.  Because these councils betrayed their lowest paid workers - every bit as much as the Labour supporting trade unions. And as the employers they had even more responsibility - arguably - to keep their promises on  equal pay. So I'm not surprised that Labour councillors in Glasgow are now very anxious about the future - because the Labour party's name is 'mud' amongst many of its own employees. For the way the Labour-led council - and Labour councillors - behav

More Shock Jocks

A regular reader has been in touch to say that George Galloway comes across as an 'arrogant bully' in his radio programme - in which he describes a young caller as an 'ignoramous'. See post dated 22 May 2011 - 'Shock Jock'. I couldn't agree more - because that's no way to speak to people - unless they're being completely rude and offensive . But the young chap involved was perfectly polite and reasonable. What George seemed to dislike is that the young caller was standing his ground -  and refusing to roll over - to an experienced, professional politician.  Now they say that all publicity is good publicity. Yet there's always and exception that proves the general rule - and this might just be one of them. No wonder the voters of Glasgow sent GG packing. I suspect that after this episode - he won't dare to darken the doors of the voters in Glasgow again.  

Now there's a strange thing

As the former head of the IMF - Dominique Strauss-Khan - sits in the $5 million Manhattan apartment owned by his wife, surely the obvious question is: 'Why didn't the old tomcat just get his head down there the other night - instead of staying in a very expensive $1,000 a night hotel?' Now the answer to that may be obvious - depending on what you think of DSK.  But it's not just his predatory sexual behaviour that is called into question - while on official IMF business - it's the casual attitude towards spending what is effectively public or government money. It's like an MP living in central London - claiming on expenses for staying at the Ritz. Mind you - until recently - a lot of them would have been happy to do exactly that. And the public would have had no right to know what the buggers were getting up to - with our money.

Secrets and Lies - and FOI

The MPs' expenses scandal may finally drawing to an close with the jailing of former Labour MP and ex-government minister - Elliot Morley. After initially pleading his innnocence - and stringing the whole court process out for months - Morley suddenly admitted fiddling his parliamentary expenses - and was sentenced to 16 months in jail yesterday. So justice has eventually been done but what a sorry way for any MP or government minister to behave - Morley dishonestly claimed more than £30,000 over an extended period. Morley pled guilty last month to making excessive claims for mortgage costs from 2004 to 2007 - also for claiming on a mortgage that had been paid off. When the allegations against him first surfaced - Morley claimed it had been a genuine mistake - and that he would prove that he was not guilty of deception. Famous last words. But it's worth reflecting that Morley would have escaped 'Scot-free' - if the House of Commons authorities got their way

Shock Jock

Scottish Parliament hopeful - George Galloway - is getting pelters on the internet for the treatment of a young caller to his live radio programme. For some reason GG loses his temper - and calls the young chap an 'ignoramous' - would you believe. Which having listened to the exchange on You Tube - is shamefully rude and over the top - in my opinion. But then maybe George is just trying to turn himself into some kind of 'Scottish Shock-Jock' - having been firmly rebuffed by voters in the good city of Glasgow. All I can say is that once you've reached the 'heights' of Celebrity Big Brother - it's normally down hill from there. Make up your own mind - and listen to You Tube yourself - here's the link:

Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction

In 1965 Barry McGuire had a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic with his famous protest song - Eve of Destruction. Here are the lyrics - a lmost 50 years on some things have changed more than others. But it just goes to show you that there's still money to be made - from telling tales of the Apocalypse.  Eve of Destruction "The eastern world, it is exploding Violence flarin', bullets loadin' You're old enough to kill, but not for votin' You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin' And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'. But you tell me Over and over and over again, my friend Ah, you don't believe We're on the eve of destruction. Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today? If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave [Take a look around ya boy, it